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Ramzan ceasefire welcome: Azad

Source: PTI
September 11, 2006 20:40 IST
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Amid expectations of a ceasefire between militants and security forces ahead of Ramzan, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Sunday said his government would respond positively if militants announce end of hostilities.

The ceasefire should not be limited to the holy month of Ramzan, when Muslims observe a fast, but "can be extended beyond" in case the militants declare shunning violence, he said in a statement in Srinagar. Azad said keeping in view the fasting month, starting in the last week of September, he would be happy to respond to a ceasefire.

People of the state would appreciate the ceasefire as they were fed up with the violence. "The time has come to openly declare stoppage of all kinds of violence -- attacks on innocents, throwing of grenades, planting of explosives and harassment of people by militants," the statement said.

Azad hoped the move would help in the progress and development of the state. Militants would also realise that "peace is the demand" of the people and gun culture has no relevance in any civilised society when matters can be sorted out through dialogue, he said.

The chief minister said the people of the state attached high expectations to a ceasefire announcement on the eve of the fasting month as was done in 2002 during Mufti Mohammad Sayeed's tenure.

The proposed meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf during the Havana NAM summit had added to the expectations, he said.

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